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Prepare for a flood

Risk of tidal flooding

If you live or work near the coast or a harbour area and are concerned that tidal flooding may affect your property, you can obtain advice about likely water levels and best methods of defence from the Department of Infrastructure (DOI).

Risk of rainfall or river flooding

If you live or work in an area where you are concerned that flooding may affect your property, you can obtain advice about likely water levels and best methods of defence from the Department of Infrastructure.

  • Ensure that drains around your property are properly maintained. Gullies should be kept free of fallen leaves in autumn as they can cause temporary blockages.

Protect yourself from flooding

  • Make sure that you have adequate insurance to cover possible flood damage to your property and its contents – Keep details of your policy and contact numbers to hand.
  • Keep a list of useful telephone numbers to hand (numbers shown on the Help and Advice page)
  • Make sure that you know where to turn off your electrity and/or gas supply
  • Store valuable and sentimental items and important documents upstairs or in a high place
  • Ensure your devices (radio batteries, mobile phone and any torches you may need) are fully charged
  • Make sure your pets or other livestock are safely away from areas which might be flooded
  • Ensure any chemical containers (eg oil, paint, detergents, weedkiller, acid, etc) in your stores, shed or garage are securely sited above possible flood levels
  • Have a few sandbags and planks of wood prepared to block doorways and airbricks


For use by the public to protect their property will be made available by the DOI.

Pallets of sandbags will be located:

  • Douglas Promenade (near the Castlemona Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Empress Hotel and in the Strathallen area)
  • Douglas North Quay (near the British Hotel, the Clarendon Hotel and near Newson’s shop)
  • Castletown (Hope Street, Victoria Road and on the Promenade near James Road)

If you are likely to require additional sandbags, they can be obtained in advance through the DOI emergency number (+44 1624 672000) or from Department depots. However, sandbags have a limited life when exposed to general weather conditions.

Using sandbags to protect your property:

  • Select the best site for building a protective wall. Make use of existing walls and land features to keep your temporary structure as short as possible. Advice can be obtained from the DOI or emergency services.
  • Bags and sand can be obtained from your builders’ merchant
  • Bags filled only around half full (and not tied) can be laid together like bricks to make a defence
  • Alternate the direction of bags in each layer, lapping unfilled portion under next bag
  • For larger structures, build defence 3 times as wide as it will be high and seal by wrapping in heavy-duty plastic sheet (eg DPM from a builders’ merchant)
  • Remove temporary structures after the flooding event to restore natural drainage (and before the bags deteriorate)
  • Consider whether a permanent alleviation scheme or structure could prevent you being affected by future flooding events

If flooding is imminent

  • Turn off electricity, water and gas supplies.
  • Move vehicles to higher ground where water cannot reach the bodywork or mechanical parts.
  • Ensure you have a safe escape route from flood water. Even a few inches of water, especially if flowing or in waves, can sweep you off your feet. A foot or more of water can move cars around.
  • Alert your neighbours, especially the elderly.
  • Do as much preparation as possible in daylight. Doing anything in the dark is more difficult, especially if the electricity fails.
  • Remember that tidal flooding will begin to recede after high water and that rainfall flooding will usually begin to recede after the rain eases off or stops falling. If at all possible, it is safer to stay indoors until the danger has passed.

Important numbers

  • Floodline +44 1624 686100 (calls charged at local rate)
  • Department of Infrastructure Emergency Line +44 1624 672000
  • Police Headquarters +44 1624 631212
  • Emergency Services 999

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